Season Review/Look Ahead:Johnny Simonson

Last season, Johnny Simonson had an expanded role with the Fighting Hawks. He played a third line role and improved from his freshman season.In his second season Simsonson generated 17 points in 43 games playing a third line depth scoring role. Simonson is a 5′ 10″ forward who relies on speed and grit to help UND win. While Simonson had more chances last year, we look for him to have a breakout season this year. Since the Grand Forks native will have a bigger role, we expect him to double his total points in the season this year playing either a top nine or top six scoring forward role. His play will determine if he earns any significant special teams time. I expect Simonson to have at least 20 points due to his increased ice time and higher skilled linemates.

This past year, Simonson improved some areas of his game like his playmaking. He still has work to do to make getting knocked off the puck harder. If he has a good rest of the offseason, Simonson could be a breakout star for the Fighting Hawks this season. Like Drake Caggiula before him, we think an NHL team could be waiting to sign him if he produces. We hope Simonson has a difficult decision to make next offseason regarding turning pro.

Grade: 7/10

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=118020

 

Another Reason to Love Hockey: The Future

One reason I absolutely love hockey is because of how prospects develop. Let me use this entry to showcase that point.

Hockey is a unique animal when it comes to drafts. Most players are drafted when they are 18 or 19. A tiny fraction play in the NHL the year after they are drafted. Most head off to college, or return to their respective clubs be they junior or international. While there they are developing and improving daily and trying to earn a contract.

Earn a contract? That is right. All hockey prospects have to earn a contract based on skills and performance after being drafted. If not, and your rights with the team run out, you may find yourself out of a chance to ever play NHL hockey. Plenty of first rounders go unsigned and never see the NHL. For instance, from the 2007 NHL Draft, five first rounders have never played a single NHL contest. Three more have played 20 or less games. This goes to show that drafting is an inexact science. Imagine if Edmonton picked P.K Subban that year instead of Alex Plante in the first round. Plante played 10 games in the NHL and Subban has played 434 games so far. Subban was picked  43rd by Montreal. Plante was picked 15th by Edmonton.

Let’s also discuss what happens for players who are not drafted. Plenty still get a chance to play. Torey Krug went from Michigan State to earning a pro contract with the Bruins. Recently Drake Caggiula and Troy Stecher have earned chances to play at the next level with the Oilers and Canucks.

All of this shows that the draft is an imperfect art. Just because you are drafted high does not mean you will succeed. On the other hand, those that go undrafted often have better careers than some players picked in the first round of both of their draft years.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2007e.html

Reasons to Love Hockey:Reboot

Sorry Guys, Life happens and I haven’t been able to be post as quickly as I normally would.

Today there are less than 100 days left till the puck drops at the Shark tank against the LA kings. This post is not really a reason more just a review of what has happened in the last two weeks.

We had some crazy trades and an amazing first day of free agency.   The San Jose Sharks have signed four players so far and on the first day. David Schlemko is one of the two high profile players that SJ picked up. I would have to say the Schlemko is going to be a good addition to the team. I am interested to see how this plays out. He has a tendancy to either be really good or really bad, either way, he will be a good replacement for Roman Polak. Which I personally feel was a major liability for the Sharks on defense this past season. Mikkel Boedker, I am not so sure how I feel about him, it honestly will depend on what line they end up placing him on. I think he might play well with a player like Donskoi and Hertl, but only time will tell. The two re-signs are Aaron Dell(G) and Micheal Haley (C). I am looking forward to see what Haley does this season. I think it was smart to bring him back.

Now Dell, I have been watching this player for six years and I have a good feeling about this upcoming season from him. I am was ecstatic when I saw that SJ resigned him, like literally jumped up and down (sorry downstairs neighbors), I think he will be a great backup option to Jones. They have very similar playing styles and I believe Dell has earned his shot to play on NHL ice. I know a lot of you are thinking about how untested he is on a professional rink, but you will never know how well any player can handle the pressure of the “big” time, with over 6,500 minutes of playing time between the ECHL,CHL and AHL, It is in my honest thoughts that he can handle it and I am really looking forward to seeing were it all heads for him.

Free Agency Thoughts

Here are some thoughts on the first few days of free agency.

1.Tampa Bay has to be the early Cup favorite for this season. With Headman and Stamkos locked up long term, the sky is the limit for that team. Look for one of Tampa’s goalies to be traded or picked by Las Vegas in the expansion draft next season. The Bolts will have some more cap issues, however they are trying to win it all now. They have come so close within the last two years that General Manager Steve Yzerman is doing everything he can to win it all now while not mortgaging the future.

2. Kudos to Aaron Dell. The talented man of few words signed a two year pact to remain with the Sharks.Dell will have a chance to become the full time backup with the team.He has done nothing but earn everything he has ever gained in pro hockey. He went undrafted and won a CHL championship.Then he played well in Utah in the ECHL. After that he went to and from the AHL and ECHL as needed. Last year he was the full time starter for the San Jose Barracuda. Now Dell, who has done nothing but produce at every level, will have the chance to be the backup and play 15-20 games while Martin Jones plays the balance for the Sharks.

3.The Capitals did well signing Brad Malone. The former UND standout will probably serve as a depth center at Hershey. He has constantly shown his grit and earned everything he has gained. A few years ago he carved out time as a fourth line center in Carolina. Hershey gains an AHL first liner that can generate offense and help younger players like Jakub Vrana progress and develop into their full potential. Do not be surprised to see Malone earning some time on the Capitals’ fourth line throughout the year.

A lot has happened during free agency. We will publish three thoughts every so often as a way of discussing as much of what has happened as possible. We use General Fanager for contract and stats info unless otherwise noted.